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Read the latest DySoc Newsletter
DySoC News, August 2018
DySoC News, May 2018
DySoC News, April 2018
DySoC News, March 2018

See Events for upcoming DySoC seminars and workshops

New Members

Dr. Damian Ruck (PhD, Bristol University, U.K.) joined the Department of Anthropology this fall as a postdoctoral scholar and will also be a member of the NIMBioS DySoc group. Dr. Ruck uses large historical data sets to measure social and cultural change across cultures and nations over historical time. Dr. Ruck's new research, published with Alex Bentley and Daniel Lawson this summer in Science Advances, measures the importance of religion in 109 countries spanning the entire 20th century. This research has reignited an age-old debate around the link between secularization and economic growth. The study, showing that a decline in religion influences a country's future economic prosperity, received prominent media coverage this summer, including the front page of Britain's leading newspaper, The Times.

Dr. Harry Dahms (Sociology, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville). Dr. Dahms is Co-Director, Center for the Study of Social Justice, UTK; Co-Chair, Committee on Social Theory, UTK; Editor, Current Perspectives in Social Theory; Director, International Social Theory Consortium (ISTC); and Affiliated Faculty, University of Innsbruck (Austria). Dr. Dahms research interests are in economic sociology, political economy, and comparative sociology.

New Course

EEB/Math 681. Evolution of human distinctiveness: a review of ideas and mathematical models.

Instructor: Sergey Gavrilets
CRN: 43210, Section #1, 3 credit hours
MWF 2:30-3:20
Place: Ayres 122/ Claxton 103

The goal of the course is to expand on the material presented in introductory courses on mathematical modeling in biological, social and cultural evolution to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the rapidly developing theoretical research focusing on human social behavior.

The list of topics to be covered:

  1. Are humans a "uniquely unique species"?
  2. Pair-bonding
  3. Egalitarian preferences and fairness
  4. Cognitive abilities
  5. Language
  6. Coalitions
  7. Cooperation
  8. Conflict
  9. Learning and cultural evolution
  10. Social norms
  11. Social institutions and social complexity

For each topic, we will use at least 3 class periods to:

  • Review ideas and data,
  • Go through an earlier/classical model,
  • Go through a more recent model,
  • Critique and discuss possible generalizations of models.

No tests/exams but a significant amount of reading. Student-led discussions. A possibility for a project and/or publication.

Recent Papers:

Beckage B, Gross LJ, Lacasse K, Carr E, Metcalf SS, Winter JM, Howe PD, Fefferman N, Franck T, Zia A, Kinzig A, Hoffman FM. 2018. Linking models of human behavior and climate alters projected climate change. Nature Climate Change 8:79–84.

Bentley, RA, A Willis, B Pradier, AA Kyaw, TT Win, AD Brandon and TO Pryce. 2018. Social differences in Neolithic/Bronze Age Myanmar. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 21:32-37.

Bentley RA, Ross CN, O’Brien MJ. 2018. Obesity, metabolism, and aging: A multiscalar approach. Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science 155:25-42.

Bush JM, Jung H, Connell JP, Freeberg TM. 2018. Duty now for the future: a call for public outreach by animal behaviour researchers. Animal Behaviour 139:161-169.

Coppinger BA, Sanchez de-Launay A, Freeberg TM. 2018. Carolina chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) calling behavior in response to threats and in flight: flockmate familiarity matters. Journal of Comparative Psychology 132:16-23.

Haj-Mohamadi P, Fles EH, Shteynberg G. 2018. When can shared attention increase affiliation? On the bonding effects of co-experienced belief affirmation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 75:103-106. [Online]

Huffer D, Bentley RA, Oxenham MF. 2018. Community and kinship during the transition to agriculture in Northern Vietnam. In (C. Higham, ed) Handbook of Southeast Asian Archaeology. OUP.

Lucas JR, Gentry KE, Sieving KE, Freeberg TM. (In Press). Communication as a fundamental piece of the Machiavellian Intelligence puzzle. To appear in Journal of Comparative Psychology.

O’Brien MJ, Bentley RA. 2018 Dual inheritance, cultural transmission, and niche construction. In The Handbook of Culture and Biology (J Causadilas, EH Teller, NA Gonzales, eds.): 179-202.

Prins, B. and A. Phayal. 2018. Armed peacekeepers do protect civilians—with one big exception. MonkeyCage, Washington Post, June 14, 2018.

Ruck DJ, Bentley RA, Lawson DJ. 2018. Religious change preceded economic change in the 20th century. Science Advances 4(7): eaar8680.

Schank JC, Burghardt GM, Pellis SM. 2018. Toward a theory of the evolution of fair play. Frontiers in Psychology 9:1-15.

Shteynberg G. 2018. A collective perspective: Shared attention and the mind. Current Opinion in Psychology 23:93-97.

Siopsis G, Balu R, Solmeyer N. 2018. Quantum prisoners’ dilemma under enhanced interrogation. Quantum Information Processing 17(6):144. [Link]

Van de Moortel A. Cultural Entanglements Between Phaistos and Malia in the Protopalatial Period: a Ceramic Perspective. IN G. Baldacci and I. Caloi (eds.), Rhadamanthys. Studies in Minoan Archaeology in honour of Filippo Carinci on the occasion of his 70th birthday (Oxford: Archaeopress) 79-88.

Van de Moortel A, Zahou E, Rutter JB, Mitrou and Proskynas in Prehistoric East Lokris. Chronology, Interconnections, and Society, IN M. Papakonstantinou, H. Kritzas, and I.P. Touratsoglou (eds.), Pyrrha. Meletes gia tin archaiologia stin Kentriki Elladha pros timin tis Fanourias Dakoronias, Vol. I. Proistorikoi chronoi (Athens) 169-193.

Recent grants

Press releases


Contact DySoC
Sergey Gavrilets, Director
403B Austin Peay
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-3410
PH: (865) 974-8136
FAX: (865) 974-3067 Email
Website: http://www.dysoc.org

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